GEAR REVIEW: Rudy Project Windmax

author : GaryRM
comments : 3

Is it worth paying the extra money for a pricier helmet? We review the Rudy Project Windmax helmet to answer just this question.

Tech specs

Manufacturer: Rudy Project
Product: Windmax
Price: online (various sites) $193-$219.  e-Rudy.com - $299 (but there is a 25% off discount available)
Size tested: S/M
Weight: 250g/8.8 oz from packaging – 9.2 oz from home scale
Color (tested): White/Silver/Red
Colors (other): Black/Yellow/White and Red/White/Black

Mileage tested

300-400 miles on the bike

Helmet testing

When I was asked to review a helmet my only thought was how?  I mean, coming from a guy who basically picked his last helmet based upon price and did the helmet color match the bike, how was I going to review this?  Especially since I don’t have ready access to a wind tunnel I wouldn’t have any cool videos or charts to show.  So I did some initial research by asking a couple of different triathlon groups why they picked their current helmet.  Now while my testing methodology probably would not pass a scientific peer review I think the results are fairly accurate with the top two reasons were:

  • Price
  • Matched bike

There was a three way tie for third which were:

  • Adjustable
  • Well Vented
  • Brand (or brand loyalty)

For the most part these matched my reasons for buying my current helmet which cost me less than $100 so I was interested to see if there were features of a higher priced helmet that would make me consider spending more on my next helmet. 

Now to the actual review

Removing the helmet I found the helmet came with a visor (pretty standard stuff), extra pads for inside the helmet, and a helmet bag (nice touch).  Some of my initial thoughts were that:

  • Nice looking helmet and the colors would work well with my bike.  I definitely like the style and it worked well with my bike colors.
  • Lots of vents – 21 of the actually.  Very useful in southern Louisiana with the heat and humidity
  • Netting in the vents – also very useful in southern Louisiana as we do have our fair share of bugs

Moving on I noticed that the Windmax felt lighter than my current helmet (Schwinn) and found that it was about 3 oz’s lighter.  Now I am not a weight weenie and if I was I could drop a lot more weight off of me before worrying about the weight of my helmet.  But I did have to wonder if that 3oz’s would make much difference in my neck or shoulders after being in aero position for 3+hrs during an HIM.



Fig 1 – Rudy Project Windmax on left and old helmet on right.  Note the red netting in the Windmax, very helpful for keeping bugs out.

A quick review of the instructions which was the standard of how to wear and fit along with the usual warnings (all translated to quite a few different languages).

Adjustability and Fit

Putting it on I found it fairly easy to adjust the sizing using the knob on the back.  I also like the bit of padding they put over the buckle which was a little more comfortable than my current helmet.  The one feature that was lacking, that my current helmet has, is a light in the adjustment knob.  My current helmet has it so you press once and you get a blinking light, twice a solid beam, and three turns off.  Being a person who likes to light up like a Christmas tree while riding in the evening this is a nice feature to have.

Having been stung once on the hand riding I have to say the netting adds a nice sense of security.  I have had my fair share of bugs bounce off of my helmet (I ride near a swamp and a bayou) and knowing that they did not end up in my hair was a good feeling.

Race Evaluation

As timing worked out I was scheduled to do NOLA 70.3 which, as most people know by now, was turned into a duathlon with the bike course being cut a bit short.  Still the helmet did its job which was to be as invisible as possible and hopefully never be called upon except for trying to make me look good for the course photographer (for me, that would take one heck of a helmet to make happen).  I spent most of my ride on the aero bars and the helmet worked well. 

Now after riding with it for a couple of months I went back to my old helmet for a ride.   While I can’t say riding with my old helmet ruined my ride or set me back 5 watts I can say I do prefer riding with the new Windmax.

One of the complaints about my current helmet is that I always felt it was a little noisy (wind noise), almost as if the helmet generated some of its own wind noise.   The one time I rode without a helmet (for about a block before I realized I forgot it and went back to get it) it was a much quieter ride.  I didn’t get that with the Windmax and I am enjoying the extra bit of silence.

Summary

I very much like this helmet and am now sold on spending a little extra to get a better helmet.  The small extras like the netting, the styling and the vents are great.  I would say the two main drawbacks are, first, the lack of the rear light.  This is pretty minor but the second is a bigger issue.  While I really like the helmet and it should last for several years, barring a crash, the price tag is still a bit high.  There are some great helmets with some of the same features at a slightly lower price.    Hopefully it will be a couple of years before I have to replace it but I tend to stick with what works for me and will, most likely, get another Windmax.

Rating

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date: May 30, 2012

GaryRM